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Always Feeling Tired? These Solutions Can Help You Get Your Energy Back

Always Feeling Tired? These Solutions Can Help You Get Your Energy Back

It’s 1 p.m. – just after your lunch break – and you can feel yourself slipping, slipping, slipping into an unwelcome post-meal nap. How are you supposed to complete your assignments when exhaustion envelops you like a thick, heavy fog? If you’re tired of feeling tired, try these simple tricks to get some more energy.

1. Get Sufficient Sleep

Simple science: you use your fuel during the day and require hours of unconsciousness to replenish. Actor Matthew McConaughey swears by 8.5 hours of sleep each night. “I’m not near as good the next day if I get less,” he once told People magazine.

2. Eat Your Energy

Brownies and Cheetos are darn tasty, but they won’t give you long-lasting energy. Reach for from-the-earth options like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. These foods carry protein and fiber, giving you hours of stamina instead of the minute-long jolt one gets from eating cheese curls.

Take a lesson from Carly Rae Jepson. The singer, most famous for her song “Call Me Maybe,” told Bon Appétit: “I have the same thing for breakfast every day: vanilla yogurt with granola and fruit. And if I can get my hands on some boiled eggs, I go for those, too.”

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3. Exercise

Go out and get your heart pumping. Exercise releases endorphins that will leave you feeling happy and awake. Plus, if you break a sweat during the day, you’ll sleep better at night. Double win!

4. Put Effort Into Your Appearance

When you’re confident in your appearance, you’ll feel more alive. There’s no denying we’re our least energetic selves when we’re at home, on the couch, looking ugly. Get a new haircut, buy a new outfit or try a new shade of lipstick – when you feel attractive, you’ll get a jolt every time someone looks at you.

5. Be Social

Don’t waste your beauty efforts in solitude. Surround your pretty self with conversation and laughter in order to boost your spirits and vivacity. Audrey Hepburn once said, “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.” In order to reap the benefits of socializing, opt for positive, happy companions.

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6. Cut Caffeine Midday


Caffeine lingers in your system for hours after your last cup. This can hinder your ability to fall asleep and lower your rest quality when you do sleep. Even decaf varieties have traces of caffeine, so choose your drinks wisely (choose water!).

7. Drink Lots of Water

Hydration is key in all factors of health, and sleep is no exception. Your body will work harder to pump blood and carry out all of its functions if your cells are thirsty. A-listers like Beyoncé, Jessica Alba and Miranda Kerr all swear by the powers of water. If drinking enough is tough for you, grab some celery, broccoli or juicy fruits to get some water through your foods.

8. Don’t Booze Yourself to Sleep

Drinking alcohol before sleep – or even, dare I say it, to put yourself to sleep – is actually a bad idea. Boozed-up sleep is restless and low quality, which will leave you with regrets the next day.

9. Be Your Own Cheerleader

Basking in self-pity is the surest way to use up (or should I say waste?) all of your energy. Congratulate yourself for triumphs and use compliments generously. When you feel down, look for positives and seek company that will give you some good energy. Do not take to sulking alone on the couch!

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10. Let Go of Stress


Whether it’s work, family or personal issues, life is full of stressors that are determined to tire us out (or so it may seem). Tackle these things one at a time, and seek help if necessary.

11. Let Go of Jealousy

Jealousy, like stress and general negativity, can suck up our resources, resulting in a tired, dried-up existence. It’s natural to want what others have, but it is a self-destroying practice. Consider all of the things you have. Prioritize gratefulness and shift your perspective toward the bright side.

12. Smile More

It’s life’s cheapest, most effective accessory! Smiling more can actually lift your spirits and make you feel more energetic. Like I said before, every interaction is an exchange of energy. If you’re smiling at someone, the other person is more likely to respond with her own positive energy.

13. Write To-Do Lists

If you’re feeling bogged down with tasks, take to writing lists. This may make it seem like you have even more to do, but it will really help you rank the items by importance. Complete the minor items first, checking them off as you go. You’ll feel more accomplished, setting you on a productivity roll.

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14. Get Fresh Air


Fill your lungs with the great outdoors to make your cells feel more alive. Your body can complete its internal workings easier when cells are at their best. Rain, wind and sunshine will also engage your sensory system and wake you up to your surroundings.

15. Listen to Music

There’s a reason people call it “pump up” music. Certain varieties can really give you a push. Your body can feel the rhythm and fend off the tiredness. Look at athletes: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has a workout playlist that revs him up for competitions. It certainly works for him!

16. Take a Shower

Finally, if you need an immediate boost, hop in the shower. The water, which will be more effective when cold, will give you the jolt you need to finish the day’s duties.

Incorporate one or more of these into your life in order to wind up and do more.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Kayla Matthews

Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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